While out shopping with Mrs. B yesterday, I saw a fellow wearing a Kentucky Colonels t-shirt bearing not only the first logo, that of a dribbling colonel and his dog, but the later "KC" logo. I thought this was very cool, so I asked him where he got it and wound up in a conversation about the American Basketball Association.
When I was a kid, my Dad, Mom and I would go up to Louisville to see at least two or three Colonels games a year after the team signed UK star Dan Issel. I was one of those gym rats who would hang out outside the teams' locker rooms (on opposite sides of the arena entrance hall) and BS with the players, even getting the occasional autograph. The games we didn't go see we listened to on WHAS radio with Van Vance or watched on TV (they showed several Colonels games every year on Channel 41, I think it was) The Colonels didn't survive when the NBA absorbed four ABA teams, thanks to owner John Y. Brown (how that SOB got elected governor I'll never know), who took settlement money rather than fight to get the Colonels included, but I'll always have lots of great memories and a couple of memorabilia items, including a program from a 1972 NBA-ABA exhibition game which featured my favorite NBA team, the Phoenix Suns, against the hated Indiana Pacers and the Colonels against the Baltimore Bullets with hometown hero Wes Unseld. I got a ton of autographs on that program, including Connie Hawkins, who didn't want to sign at first but my Dad talked him into it. My Dad was something.
Anyway, I subject you to all this sports nostalgia because while searching for a site that sold those retro ABA shirts I ran across Remember The ABA.com, which has almost everything you need to know about that great old league. I've spent an hour or so this morning checking it out. It's got pictures of huge afros, sound clips (including several from Colonel games by Van Vance), pictures of team uniforms and comprehensive team histories. Go here for the Colonels page.
I couldn't care less about the NBA, and haven't for a long time...but I sure loved the league with the red, white and blue ball. Appropriate for today, wouldn't you say?